Ruble stabilizes near 104 vs dollar ahead of cenbank rate meeting By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian Ruble banknote is placed on US Dollar banknotes in this illustration taken, February 24, 2022. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

(Reuters) – The Russian ruble eased slightly in light trading in Moscow on Friday, heading towards a psychologically important threshold of 100 against the dollar ahead of the central bank’s board meeting.

The Bank of Russia is in focus as it will hold a regular rate-setting meeting after hiking the key interest rate sharply to 20% in late February following the start of what Moscow calls a “special operation” in Ukraine.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected the central bank to keep rates unchanged.

Governor Elvira Nabiullina, who was nominated for another term by President Vladimir Putin earlier on Friday, will present the rate decision and shed more light on future steps at 1200 GMT.

At 0758 GMT, the ruble was 0.3% weaker against the dollar at 103.51 after firming to 101.70, a level last seen on March 4. Against the euro, the ruble gained 0.4% to 113.23.

The ruble showed limited reaction to an indication that Russia may have averted default on its Eurobonds.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that coupon payments on Russian sovereign bonds due this week were received by correspondent bank JPMorgan (NYSE :), processed and the bank then made an onwards credit to the paying agent Citi.

The ruble has taken a hit in the past few weeks from unprecedented Western sanctions against Russia along with increased demand for foreign currency that prompted the central bank to ban the selling of cash dollars and euros to individuals at banks’ offices.

A month ago, the Russian currency traded at around 76 to the dollar and 85 to the euro.

Trading on the stock market section on the Moscow Exchange has been closed since Feb. 28.

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